Tuesday, August 6th, was Night to Unite here in Minnesota. Part of the National Night Out campaign; the goals are to promote "police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances." Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August.

If you were out driving around you may have noticed that there were streets blocked off, lots of law enforcement out, as well as the fire department. They were going to the various block parties around town to meet with the neighborhood, having conversations with the people who attended, and, of course, there were all sorts of stickers for the kiddos. I drove past a couple of parties that had the squads all lit up, showing off the light bars for the kids.

Unfortunately, my neighborhood did not have a block party, but, Associated Church in Owatonna had a block party as part of Night to Unite, and invited "all neighbors of the church, from far and wide." Well, we don't live really close to the church, but, with an open invitation like that, yep, we went. Owatonna neighbors, no matter the side of town you live on.

Associated Church provided food, root beer floats (yummy), yard games, live music, a bounce house, and more. When we got there, at about 6:30, the Owatonna Fire Department was on hand with the fire/rescue truck, and the SWAT truck was there. What a great turnout and the kiddos just loved it. Lots of photo ops, and great conversations. Both vehicles were opened up for people to look inside to see all of the equipment. I found out that the fire department responds to calls more often than we realize, they are first responders and will go to car accidents and the like more often than to fires in our city.

In talking with some of the people at the two block parties we attended, ok crashed, everyone was so very gracious and they could have had law enforcement and the fire department there for hours to visit. The goal was to visit as many parties as possible, however, with the timing of the parties, each individual vehicle could not visit every single registered block party. They tried to get out to as much of Owatonna as they could.